FOUR DIRECTION BEANS
The original beans had various sausages included. This recipe is vegan. If you want to add meat, reduce the amount of olive oil to about ¼ cup
½ cup olive or other vegetable oil
1 large garlic chopped coarsely (about 1/3 cup)
3 large onions chopped coarsely (2+ cups)
2 large bell peppers chopped coarsely (2+ cups)
½ pound each (2 pounds total) four different dried beans (I used navy beans, baby limas, great northerns and red kidneys) SPECIAL NOTE: Black beans will result in a purple pot and chick peas take a very long time to cook.
1 tablespoon Zatarain’s, Slap Yo Mama or other spice mix
1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke if not using meat
Salt and other ingredients to taste
Use a big pot, preferably an iron one and one used primarily for beans. I have to admit that I use the same pot for gumbo, a deadly sin, but I am only one person in a very small space.
Chop up the vegetables. If you want to cheat as I sometimes do, you can use the frozen three peppers and onions blend, but try not to cheat on the garlic. The big chunks are part of the flavor of the recipe. Heat the oil and add the veggies, sautéing until just soft, then add the beans and cover with water and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally and adding water when necessary.
About three hours in taste and add the spice mix, liquid smoke, some salt and extra garlic, etc. if you need to. TO TASTE, and everyone’s is not the same. I like food spicy, but a lot of folks don’t and if you are one of them, cut back on the spice. This would be where you add sausage or ham, if wanted.
Check every half hour or so, adding water and spice, etc. if you need to until the hardest of the beans is soft, not mushy but soft. Mine cooked about six hours. Each time you check on them, consider the four directions and the wisdom each brings and be thankful to Mother Earth for all her gifts.
The secret is that this is not a crock pot, exact measurement recipe, but requires a personal relationship with the beans. If you are feeding others, invite their input, reminding them that the beans are to be eaten so not to go overboard. I like lots of garlic and peppers. You might like less.
When finished, the smaller beans will have turned very mushy and the larger ones just soft. They’d be great baked with a little catsup and molasses if you want. Servings would be 10 to 15 depending on if it is a main dish or a side dish.
To learn how this recipe came about, please read my short story, “The Legend of the Four Directions Beans.”
The only thing worse than hand-stuffing artichokes is stuffing crawfish heads. Sure, the taste is incredible, but really. This recipe tastes just like stuffed artichokes without the work plus it is an incredible potluck dish, equally good hot or at room temperature.
1 medium onion (about a cup chopped)
3-4 toes garlic (minced)
2 (14.5 ounce) cans French green beans drained (I save the liquid for dog treats)
3 (8.5 ounce) cans artichoke hearts drained (don’t save the brine)
1 ½ cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 tsp. Italian seasoning (or more if you like it)
8 ounces grated Parmesan
8 ounces shredded mozzarella
½ cup olive oil
First chop up the onion and garlic then add all the ingredients except the olive oil and mix well. This is one of those recipes where I use my hands.
Spray a 9 x 13 or 10 x 14 baking pan with vegetable spray, then add your mix. Drizzle the top with olive oil.
Cover with foil, bake at 350 for about 30 minutes then remove the foil and bake another fifteen minutes.
You can salt and pepper if you like, but I didn’t find any need and I love salt.
As usual, any donation toward my efforts is appreciated.